Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Albums that let these ears see; Chp 4

Two For the Ages;

Full Moon Fever – Tom Petty

It’s not a career defining album, it’s not even a classic, but it is damn good. It’s pure, American and it speaks to us all. This was my first Tom Petty album and it reinvented the artist for me. Once I thought of him as just one of those radio guys, never delve into the tunes and mostly wrote off a lot of what I heard as just good Top 40. For simple radio listening Tom ranks among those I love to hear the most. His songs are staples of the American way of life. He is just so damn earnest it’s hard to not like him.

This album changed things for me. It brought to focus my inner passion for rockabilly and alt country timing. I never got into Dylan and the Yardbirds were too old for me at this point, but Petty reached me. There is something so endearing about a slightly off tune scratchy voice when it’s filled with the right mix of emotion and the truest of lyrics.

Then there’s the band itself. The lineup born to make good old fashioned, down to earth rock ‘n roll. They look everybit the part and sound even more so. This album marked Tom’s first real attempt at singles and explored some more of the Pop motivated sound of Into the Great Wide Open, possibly a better album just didn’t know that at the time, and took them on a more focused route.

Full Moon Fever sounds a lot like Tom’s just talking to ya. Telling you stories of his life, his dreams and his beliefs; this album just feels right. If nothing else it taught me to disregard stereotypes and to seek out the music that appealed to me alone. This after all was in the crucial social age of middle school. Not a lot of Tom Petty t-shirts floating around the halls of my school.

I even recall scrawling the TP logo onto a picnic table at lunch one day. The following lunch I noticed someone had added “and Garth Brooks RULE!” in complete sarcastic jest. Punk was probably wearing a NOFX shirt.

Chronicle Vol. One – Creedence Clearwater Revival

It may be a greatest hits album, but who cares it’s one of the most astounding collection of songs to be found on one album. This is without a doubt one of the most important bands in American history and this collection belongs in the home of every red-blooded American.

Brandon Flowers of the Killers once noted something to the effect that he wasn’t sure what the tag Emo really meant but if it were up to him he would tag CCR as Emo, because no one sings with as much emotion as John Fogerty.

The songs are relentless here. Hit after hit after hit, each one with it’s own attitude. There are love ballads, free wheelin’ hippy songs, pure American songs, anti-war songs, country rock songs and even an epic take on I Heard It Through the Grapevine…what other rock band can pull that off?

Some argue the merits of this album are against the notion of a true album as this is a collection, namely a packaged assembly of the best material the band had put out to date. It’s almost cheating to take all of a band’s best songs and put them on a record and say it’s an album. Those people are just jealous that they do not have the magnitude of songs to compose such a Chronicle.
Do yourself the honor and abide to your American birth rite and get a copy of C 1:CCR if you do not already own it. If that album is among your collection already, break it out, roll down your windows and let the summer heat blow through your car as you crank the volume dial down to the right.

Play it loud and play it proud!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Albums that let these ears see; Chp 3

Maybe I've a reason to believe, We all will be recived in

Graceland - Paul Simon

Among the finest albums ever recorded from one of the truly great.

There is brilliance to music that comes from those who truly understand it. They pretend not to be masters or icons, rather always aware of the status of student. These musicians are those that find themselves at the high mark of recognition and then change everything. Not done for the sake of doing or to gain attention in need to reinvent and make themselves relevant again. Rather, they maintain the childlike fascination that drives them to become again and never the same.

Simon is such artist. He mastered the folk world and then split from Garfunkel, entering a solo career that teetered on pop excellence. He released relentless singles and grew to that almost unattainable level where “everyone likes your music.” His music is in the soundtrack of our nations, it’s the theme songs to our lives. And then he changed everything we knew about modern music. He made rock ‘n roll what it was always intended to be; Music for all people. He didn’t try to bring his music to the world, he channeled the world through himself and let the world decide if its collective ear was willing to listen.

It was and Graceland is the child of such a birth.

Using breathtaking melodies and simplistic chants along traditional African beats, Simon incorporated one of Africa’s cherished treasures in Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The synergy is musical legend. Some of Simon’s truest and most celebrated songs come from this album. The most recognizable of course being “You Can Call Me Al” but the title song “Graceland” as well as “I Know What I Know,” “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes” and the brilliant “Under African Skies.”

In the simplest terms, the album just works. Ever facet, every nuance, the editing, the mixing, the melodies, the lyrics, the grand scoping songs, the tuneful heartfelt songs and the pop sensations. This is the type of album most artists dream to aspire to.

This album gave hope back to the future of songwriters in an era a synthesizers and one hit wonders as the MTV generation began to change the landscape of the music industry and the quality of songs on the radio and the shelves of your local record store. The fact that Paul Simon, such an accomplished artist took such a venture calls to his true ability to recognize and personalize the sounds of the world and in turn give them to us as we have never heard them before.

This is perhaps the most played record in my entire collection. I am fascinated with this album. It works on so many levels. It’s the only album I have ever known that I would feel right playing for my grandmother and at a house party…that’s no easy task.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Albums that let these ears see; Chp 2

Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine

I remember the first time I heard it and the feeling I got. It wasn’t a feeling of pure interest or a sense of wonder and amazement. What it was, was envy. I was so fucking jealous that my brother discovered this album before I did that I couldn’t handle myself. I pretended the album was my discovery…and for about 2 weeks it was. Then the rest of America caught wind.

RATM is an utterly demanding album. Steeped in the lore of troubled folk heroes alongside the rebellious righteousness of South African music and Reggae, containing the zeal and ferocity of speed metal while meshing the rawness of underground punks, this album created a genre of music.

The political fervor of the moment was a simmering fire ready to explode and ignite a revolution of expression and thought. Sometimes it takes the most desperate of times to bring out the truest of the soul. This album sincerely altered my perspective of the world around me and thus caused me to delve deeper in the acts of humanity in history, past and present.

I wrote papers on Imperialism, the Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny. Read of the Nazi army and evaluated the micro culture of the world I knew and interacted with on a daily basis.

I took AP studio art my senior year of HS and the writing of Zach De La Rocha is apparent as a major influence throughout my work. I wasn’t so much caught up in the words themselves at times, rather the right and need for them to be spoken. I have always sought to challenge the norm, be above the common and shallow and fight against a controlling mindset of the regulators. This allowed me to keep my edge at a private school where assimilation was the rite to success.

A powerful album in a multitude of aspects.

Check Your Head – Beastie Boys

The other side of next stage for the hip-hop/rock era was brought about by three jewish boys from the Bronx. Boys Entering Anarchist States Towards Internal Excellence. Or as you know them; BEASTIE BOYS.

This album is truly when they hit their stride. Comfortable with the mixing and sampling of all genres and expanding in their realm of musical abilities, the trio took their sound to new heights with the help of top notch producers, additional artists and the eagerness to develop a sound of their own creation.

I still consider the Boys some of the most interesting and enjoyable wordsmiths in the field of true hip-hop. The album has bits of all that was and was to come for the band and it sounded like no one else.

I loved this album and I loved this band.

I own a t-shirt of the band sitting in front of the studio when recording this album…I still keep it in my drawer to wear on occasion. That’s some damn appreciation of how much of an influence this album was on my musical evolution and my personal exploration.

The Beastie Boys were the coolest people I had ever seen. I tried to be like them, minus the rapping part. They influenced my mindset, and attitude. The exemplified the break the excepted and prove them wrong notion of art that I dug then and still do.

Most importantly, this album is a blast to listen to and it was a massive success for the band.

Rap and rock would never be the same and the Beastie Boys etched their names into the permanent metal of music history.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

...and I'll do mine

Radiohead continue to takes it all to another level with newest video off In Rainbows, a non-video produced clip for House of Cards. Making of video first, then the stunning finish.

House Of Cards - Radiohead

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Closing out the Essential 12 of '08 to date

Here we close in on LTME's Essential albums of 2008 at the midway point. The selection process was odd, slanted and took into account the amount of controversy surrounding a certain album that made it essential.

Without further delay, here are 6-1:

6. Mission Control - The Whigs

Fearless Rock is back. The Whigs exceed expectations with stellar follow up album that introduces new genres and influences. The material flows well as an album but more importantly is stellar live. I am biased on this band, but for good reason.

5. Evil Urges - My Morning Jacket

Possibly the single most polarizing album of the decade, Evil shakes the very foundation of MMJ and launches itself into the headlines with a whirlwind of an album. In many ways the weakness of some of the songs and the near failure to present a cohesive effort makes this album so damn interesting. Just what the hell was the band trying to do? There are some brilliant songs on here, but they nestle up next to some of the worst MMJ has to offer. Essential to say the least.

4. At Mount Zoomer - Wolf Parade

Did I say controversy would help make the album Essential? Then Wolf Parade march right up. The most defining argument against the album is the dismay fans have with the inability of Dan and Spencer to reconnect as they did on the debut. The material is split, making the album choppy and move along as a mix tape of your favorite songs from the various side projects. That's too bad, because looking past the ability of this album to sound like it's predecessor you'll see some stunning craftsmanship. Dan steal the show on this one and that's the way I like it.

3. Attack and Release - Black Keys

The duo knows no fear! With DJ Danger Mouse in the drivers seat the Keys release an attack on the ears and soul. Their songs never disappoint and here they have a edge that takes them places that sound so so sweet. The album unfolds at a perfect pace and the arrangement of songs is perfect. A spectacular effort by one of the best bands out there.

2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

Without a doubt the 'it' band of 2008. This is some of the most well displayed musicianship I have heard in a long time, just awesome in every aspect. Saw this band this past Sat evening and although I was in the very back of the venue and couldn't see, the songs were performance enough. This band has so much promise it is scary. I'll be listening to this album for some time to come.

1. Visiter - The Dodos

This album completely took me off guard and won me over with little effort. It's composition of folk, rock, experimental, indie and just plan simplicity overwhelms me. It is so bizarre at times that I cannot seem to resist it. So far this album have garnered the most respect and adoration for 2008, however, I would like to see it fall as I expect great things to come in the next 6 months.

Back on track. LTME's promises to get things going again in the second half of the year, sorry for the slow start.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Essential Albums of 2008 (Part 1.)

THE ESSENTIAL ALBUMS OF 2008 to date, and some that are worth noting but didn't make the cut. (Part 1)
Keeping in my theme of maintaing a dead and sad blog I will resort to an album cover countdown with a brief overview.
12. Santogold - Santogold

Bitch got spunk and brings the loopy, mind snagging beats that make this normally unlikeable genre work wonders for me. Surprised by how much I enjoy the zeal in this music, like MIA without the politics.

11. Alegranza - El Guincho

Think Animal Collective meets dancehall at a South American weekend festival where Girl Talk stares on in amazement. It's so bizarre that's it is irresistable. It won't hit you at first, but let it simmer and you'll grow en fuego.

10. Songs in A & E - Spiritualized

Post Verve, Oasis, U2 and better than Coldplay, Spiritualized crack a name and enter the pop elite ranks. Beautiful songs, sweeping structure and simplistic melodies that flow and elvole where many of the peers go flat.

9. Gone Ain't Gone - Tim Fite

What can I say, I am a sucker for Fite. He returns to his folk, rock, hip-hop, counrty, preaching ways after his stab at the indusrty Hip-Hop run. The arrangements in this work are off the wall but it's the lyrics and heart that not only draws you in, but holds you hostage.

8. All We Could Do Was Sing - Port O'Brien

The other Pacific Northwest folk heroes of the year. Just good music all around, soothing and well versed. In an era where the more complex it is the more interest it garners, Port reminds that often times the basics are the best.

7. Nouns - No Age

Like Zoinks Scoob, I've got no idea whats going on here! Fuzz your mind with this amazing redition of everything you like about modern pop rock music, turned on its ear with the speakers humming late into the night loud enough to make the neighbors go deaf so they won't call the cops.

Coming after the 4th weekend 6-1

Post any comments on my selections, ideas and predictions on what's to come or just talk shit about how bad of a blogger I have been as of late.